Balancing Act: Local firm highlights wellness in the workplace

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By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News

Though the legal field can certainly be rewarding, it often comes with a fair share of stress. Just ask Lisa B. Zimmer, partner with Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP in Southfield.

“Spending long days in the office is hard on the mind and body,” she says. “Sitting at a desk all day, talking on the phone, reading and working at a computer also takes its toll, both physically and mentally.” 

The Wayne State University Law School graduate makes a conscious effort to alleviate stress.

“I try to exercise or take a walk a couple of times a week. I also like spending time with my family. Reading is also good way to forget about stressful things and escape to another time or place,” says Zimmer.

Fortunately, there is a focus on wellness at Warner, Norcross, & Judd, a full-service law firm with more than 230 attorneys across eight Michigan offices that handles business matters, both simple and complex, from start to finish.

As Zimmer explains, they have a wide variety of practice areas with highly specialized attorneys. She works exclusively in the area of employee benefits law, counseling employers in the compliance of their 401(k) plans, pension plans, and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.

Though their wellness programs vary by location, the Southfield office has a personal trainer come once a week and the firm pays half the cost.

“We work out in the office after hours. It is good for us and good fun. We get to see each other in a more casual setting and get a workout at the same time,” Zimmer says.

They also have a massage therapist every other month.

“Not only is it a special treat when she is here, but it also helps our office raise money for our Holiday Aid Fund,” says Zimmer. “A portion of the cost of each massage goes into our Holiday Aid Fund.”

Each year, during the holidays, they donate the amount collected to a different charity.

In addition, the firm offers a program called “WINning Wellness” that includes nutritional information and occasional lunch-and-learn programs.

Through a partnership with an outside service, employees also have access to free-of-charge confidential counseling to assist them with emotional stress stemming from work or their personal lives, such as relationships or bereavement.

Those simply in need of some quiet time can head to the recently added wellness room where they will find comfortable seating, but no distractions like computers or phones.

Another bonus can be found in their breakroom, which is stocked with complimentary food and beverages, like bagels and yogurt for breakfast, and coffee, tea, orange juice, hot chocolate, pop, fruit and snacks all day. Employees even get the chance to vote on some of the selections

Zimmer appreciates the perks in her workplace and she participates in the personal training and the massages by Metro Detroit-based Julie Wyman, massage therapist and owner of Wellness in the Workplace, who brings her massage table instead of the standard chair.

“You have to get up,” she says. “You get drained from sitting. It’s like sitting too long on a car trip.”

After working with individual clients, her focus turned to the corporate world when her husband’s employer inquired about massages at their workplace. Now, Wyman, who travels throughout the state, seems to have found her niche.

Though she sees her regulars at the law firm, she says there are always new people, many of which have never had a massage before.

“Massage strengthens the immune system and relieves headaches and back tension,” she says.

In the workplace, her clients remain fully clothed during the sessions. Available upgrades include hot stones to help penetrate the muscles and aromatherapy to promote a sense of calm. Sounds like just the right combination for a fresh perspective upon returning to their desks.

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